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Fighting Just To Breathe

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Chuckling warmly, Kiryu punched Nishikiyama playfully in the arm.

“Hey! Cut it out, bro! I'm just saying, it wouldn't kill you to take some tips from me. I mean have you ever seen a suit this nice?” Grinning, he held his arms out in front of him as Kiryu shrugged.

“It's not my style. It looks good on you though.” Nishiki's eyes widened as he feigned surprise.

“Could it be? A compliment from you?” Rolling his eyes, Kiryu smirked.

“Yeah, just don't let it go to your head. So, what's next? You've already eaten your weight in ramen.”

“I told you I was hungry. Hmm. We can either finish our drinks and hit a club? Stay here and drink some more, or head back to your place and have some beers. As long as it involves booze, I don't care. I haven't drank anywhere near enough to help me forget the day I've had.” Raising his eyebrow, Kiryu turned his head.

“Problems?” Nishiki sighed, a far away look on his face.

“You could say that. Awano's been on my ass most of the day.”

“Huh? Lieutenant Awano? What would he want with a grunt like you?”

“Thanks, bro. Nice to know you've got such a high opinion of me.”

“You know what I mean. So, what's up?” Nishiki smiled, shaking his head.

“Nah, just forget it. Come on! Let's head to your place and get wasted!” Kiryu nodded, an uneasy feeling settling heavily in his stomach. I'm sure he would tell me if it's anything serious.

They walked together slowly, enjoying the gentle breeze. Laughing and joking the whole time, Kiryu still couldn't shake the feeling that something was off with Nishiki. I don't want to push him. If I ask him again, he might think I'm trying to-

Hey? You okay? You going to open the door, or are we standing out here all night?” His head snapping up, Kiryu fumbled in his pockets for his keys, flinching slightly as an arm wrapped around his shoulder. Calm down, he's just being friendly. Still though... I wish my heart would stop beating so goddamn fast. Tch. Finally getting inside the apartment, Nishiki threw his jacket off and sat down as Kiryu grabbed a few beers from the fridge. “Heh! About time! Hey, are you okay? You seem a little preoccupied tonight, bro.” Kiryu sat down opposite the other, taking a swig from the bottle.

“I could say the same about you.” The smile dropped from Nishiki's face as he frowned, only for a second before his smile returned.

“Huh? I'm fine! It's just been a long day, a fucking long day that I just want to forget, with the help of my good buddy here!” Kiryu chuckled.

“You talking about me or the beer?”

Both? I can be talking about both, right?” They giggled, the atmosphere becoming lighter as they chatted about nonsensical things, beer after beer being downed in the process. A few hours later and Nishiki was stretched out on the futon Kiryu had laid out for him. Lucky for you, I knew you'd pass out first. You owe me one for letting you have my bed. Again. Sitting staring at him as the moonlight flowed in through the window illuminating his face, Kiryu couldn't help but smile. Heh, you're such a lightweight, Nishiki... I wish you would tell me what's wrong, I could help you, if you just let me... Turning onto his side, he let out a loud snore as Kiryu chuckled softly, his heart beating faster.

“Goddamn it, Nishiki. How can you look so cute when you're sleeping? Your mouth is wide open and you have drool running down your chin... But still, you manage to look so cute.” His breath hitched as Nishiki opened one of his eyes, squinting in the dim light.

“Huh? Kiryu? What are you doing?” Fumbling his words slightly, Kiryu found himself getting frustrated.

“Nothing. N- Just thinking. Go back to sleep, Nishiki.”

“Oh yeah? What about? You going to get some sleep too?”

“You're in my bed, so no. I'll be fine, don't worry. Honestly, just go back to sleep. Heh. You always were such a lightweight.” Rubbing his eyes as he moved along, Nishiki pointed warningly at the other.

“Hey, enough of that. I had more to drink than you. Come on, come to bed. Share with me tonight, it's fine.” Kiryu's eyes widened as he shook his head quickly.

“No. No- It's okay, it's fine.”

“Kiryu, just get over here will you? It'll be fine just for tonight. Come on, I'm tired. Please bro, come on?” Feeling the colour drain from his face as he nodded, pulling his jacket off slowly and scooting over to the futon, trembling slightly as he settled down on his back next to Nishiki, trying his best not to touch him. What the? Not once in all these years has Nishiki offered to share a bed with me. The amount of times he's passed out here, and hogged my bed alone... What the hell is going on? Hearing him gently snore, Kiryu placed his hands behind his head, a serious frown on his face as he thought. Remaining that way until he started to doze off, a hand snaked under his shirt onto his stomach, settling on his chest. His eyes flew open as his heart skipped a beat, his stomach tightening. No, no, no! Shit, as long as I don't get hard, things should be okay. What the hell is he playing at tonight? I knew something was up! I knew-

“Your heart is beating so fast...” Jumping slightly, Kiryu looked to his left, freezing as his eyes met Nishiki's.

“Ni- Nishiki...? What-” Placing his finger to his lips, Nishiki hushed him, smiling gently.

“Man. You know how long I've been waiting for this, bro?”

“Waiting? For w- huh!?” Not waiting for him to finish, the other moved closer, placing his head on Kiryu's chest, bouncing slightly as he chuckled.

“I know you feel the same way about me. All those years... Everything we've been through... You know... You know I love you, right, Kiryu?” This was it. The moment Kiryu had been hoping for, for a long while now. His arms came up to wrap around Nishiki's body as he let out a shaky breath.

“Nishiki... I...” Kiryu paused, his mind racing a hundred miles an hour.

“Heh, it's okay. I know you won't say it. But I know it's how you feel.” Tilting his head up, his eyes met Kiryu's once more as he leant forward, his breath warm on the other's face. Craning his neck forwards, Kiryu's lips met Nishiki's, electricity running through his body. I can't believe this... Is he serious!? Is he- His mind went blank as he felt a warm softness inside his mouth, Nishiki's tongue wrestling playful with his own. This carried on until he couldn't stand it anymore, growling as he flipped Nishiki onto his back, smirking when his eyes widened. Legs wrapped around his ass, the other pulling him closer, groaning as their crotches rubbed against each other. “Kiryu... I knew you had this inside of you all along. Let's have some fun, eh?” Letting out a small gasp as Nishiki's hand gripped his erection, Kiryu moved his head to the side, gently nibbling on his neck whilst trying to push down the doubts in his mind. He's drunk. He might not even remember this when he's sober, then where will you be? You don't want to take advantage. You're sober, you should know better. If he still feels the same way when he's sober, great. If not, well, tough. Stop it, before it goes too far. Pulling back, Kiryu shook his head, moving Nishiki's hand.

“Nishiki... You're drunk.” A frustrated sigh from the other as he tried in vain to return his hand to Kiryu's crotch.

“I know what I'm doing. Come on, bro! You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this! I thought you felt the same! Unless... You don't? Shit. Have I...? Heh. Have I made an ass of myself?” Placing his lips against Nishiki's one more time, Kiryu kissed him slowly, ignoring the throbbing in his trousers. He pulled back, smiling warmly.

“I do. You know I do. I just... I want us to both be sober when it does happen. I want us to be able to remember it, clearly. Not under some boozy haze. You get that, right Nishiki?” Chuckling, Nishiki punched him lightly on the shoulder.

“I should've expected such a soft, mushy response from you. Okay. I give in. For now. Come on. Let's get some sleep then. But if you change your mind...?” Kiryu laughed as Nishiki snuggled into his chest, pulling his arm over him.

“I won't. Shut up and sleep.”

Opening his eyes slowly, Kiryu tried to stretch, a heavy weight on his chest stopping him.

“Huh? What the? Nishiki...” Looking down, he smiled as Nishiki was sprawled out beside him, his head and arm resting heavily on top of his chest. I remember now. I wonder if he does? I wonder if I did the right thing... To think I could've- His thoughts were interrupted as a bleeping noise filled the room, followed by a loud groan.

“Argh, what the hell man. My head. Goddamn, I feel like shit... What... What's that noise? Is that, is that me?” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his pager, eyes widening. “Fuck! I'm in for it now! Sorry bro, I gotta go!” Fumbling around for his jacket, he raced out the door leaving Kiryu still laying down in a state of confusion. Sitting up slowly, he sighed. Now what am I supposed to make of that. Tch. I guess whatever- The door burst open as Nishiki flew back inside, kneeling down to give him a quick peck on the lips. “We'll talk later!” Chuckling as he left once more, Kiryu fell backwards, placing his hands over his stomach, a wide grin across his face. Heh, so it is real. I wonder what was so urgent though... Hmm.

Later that day, Kiryu was sat in the office, talking idly to Kashiwagi.

“Only a month now until Kazama-san is out and back with us. It'll be good to have him back. Doesn't feel the same around here without him.” Speaking low, Kashiwagi put down his cold noodles.

“That's if he makes it back...” Snapping his head up, Kiryu blinked slowly, not sure if he had heard correctly.

“What...? What do you mean, Kashiwagi-san?”

“I... Where should I start? Okay. Myself and Kazama have been discussing this ourselves. Kiryu, think about this. All of a sudden, someone blows the whistle on the gambling racket he's got going on? Why now? It never stays in the same place. So it had to be someone in the Family that tipped off the police. From what I've heard, there's a few, including the lieutenants, that want him out. Not just out of the Family too.” Standing up, Kiryu balled his fists, unable to process what he was hearing.

“What? Who!? Why?” Shaking his head, Kashiwagi shrugged.

“I'm not sure. I'm trying to find out. The word is, there's a big bounty on Kazama's head. And if it's right...? It's been put there by Dojima himself.”

“You... You can't be serious. What reason would Dojima have for wanting Kazama-san out? It makes no sense! We have to stop this, Kashiwagi-san!” Raising his head, Kashiwagi glared at Kiryu, his gaze hard.

“What do you think I've been doing? Kazama is well aware of what's going on. I'm pretty sure he knew even before I told him. I still don't know how he does that... Anyway. He's got a pretty good idea in his mind of why this is happening. I'll explain once we're certain. So just leave it until we know more. Kiryu, I mean it. Be careful who you trust.” Sitting down, Kiryu nodded.

“Have you told Nishiki? And I know. I'm not stupid, Kashiwagi-san. Actually. Speaking of Nishiki... He said something to me last night that didn't make sense.”

“Hm? It's Nishikiyama. A lot of what he says doesn't make sense.”

“No. This definitely was weird. He looked pissed off. I asked him what was wrong... He said Awano had been on his ass all day... And then this morning, his pager went off, and I've never seen him move so f-”

“What? Awano? What does he want with Nishikiyama?” Shaking his head, Kiryu shrugged.

“He wouldn't say, he just said-” The door opening silenced him as Nishiki walked in grinning.

“Yo! S'up bro? Kashiwagi-san?” Kashiwagi gave Kiryu a quick look as if to say, don't say a word, and nodded hello. “Okay... Anyway, you got a minute, bro? Need to talk to you. See ya, Kashiwagi-san!” Picking up his bowl of noodles, Kashiwagi nodded once more. Following Nishiki out of the office, Kiryu frowned hard. Surely, Nishiki has nothing to do with this... I have to find out what Awano wants with him.

“Yo? Everything okay, bro?”

“I was about to ask you the same thing.” The same faraway look Nishiki wore last appeared on his face once more.

“Come on. I want to talk to you. Let's hit Serena. Reina won't mind, I've already spoken to her.”

A short while later the two men sat at the bar in Serena, an awkward silence filling the air. Turning to face Kiryu, Nishiki's eyes were wide as he trembled.

“You're shaking. What's wrong with you?” Grinning, he placed his hand on Kiryu's knee.

“Kiryu... Shit, where do I start!? Okay. So you know how I mentioned yesterday that Awano was riding me pretty hard?” Kiryu nodded slowly, his stomach filling with dread. “He's had me doing some odd jobs for him. Says if I can prove myself, he's going to take me under his wing. But that's not even the best part! You can tag along too! Don't waste time asking why! Just think about it! It would take years for nobodies like us to climb the ranks, especially under Kazama-san... Or do a few shitty jobs and get the best head start possible. Think of how proud Kazama-san will be when he gets out! Using our own initiative instead of following him around like lost fucking dogs. Me and you, bro... Together at the top! Once Awano and the others see we're serious, and we can handle ourselves... There's no stopping us! All the flashy suits, the fast cars, the money! Then there's the respect! Fuck, bro! So... What do you say?” Raising his head, Kiryu swallowed hard. Me and Nishiki... Together at the top...?